Many companies that use virtual offices notice a reduction in costs
associated with office space and computer equipment. In addition, the perk of telecommunication can help to retain
talented employees who might otherwise opt to work elsewhere or even become stay at home parents.
On the negative side, employees can feel isolated without regular
interaction with co-workers, and work projects could suffer due to a lack of group dynamics.
Recently, Yahoo!'s CEO made news by abolishing the company's telecommuting policy due to a desire for more personal
interactions. When used properly, telecommuting doesn't need to lead to such a drastic measure. In fact, with conference
calls, you can overcome the lack of interaction between colleagues and facilitate collaboration.
The Benefits of Conference Calls for Remote Teams
Remote virtual office conference calls can be conducted using a conference calling service. Simply schedule the call, provide participants with the
call details, and bring the entire team together no matter where they may be physically located. For example, if
you regularly hold a weekly staff meeting in your conference room but have a few employees who work from home or
at branch offices, they likely miss out on important information such as industry news, training, policy changes,
pricing updates, sales strategies, and other important issues. By hosting a remote virtual office conference call,
these employees can receive the information that they need in order to work more effectively as well as contribute
their ideas and concerns. Regular conference calls not only keeps them in the loop but may help alleviate feelings
The more remote virtual workers your office has, the more important conference call collaboration becomes. In situations
where everyone is working remotely, creativity and teamwork can suffer as was cited in Yahoo!'s decision to end
telecommuting. While conferencing is often used for formal meetings, it can also be used for informal project planning
and brainstorming sessions. With a low cost conference call solution in place, your team can schedule virtual office
collaboration meetings as well as hold impromptu group discussions.
Conferencing and Teamwork
Conferencing for virtual workers helps remote workers see each other as team members as well as helps them understand
their individual roles. Conference meetings overcome challenges with email which can come across as insensitive,
overbearing, or abrupt when not written with care. With a conference call, participants can hear the speaker's
tone of voice and inflection. These verbal cues can make a huge difference in how a message is perceived by the
listener. Use conference calls to break the ice and build a sense of camaraderie and team spirit.
Formal vs. Informal Conference Call Collaboration
Should you hold formal conference calls with your remote virtual office or informal ones? Both are smart! Formal
conference calls tend to be scheduled in advance and take place according to a predetermined agenda, much like
a traditional meeting. In fact, you can combine a live staff meeting with conferencing by placing the conference
call on speakerphone in your conference room. As mentioned previously, this type of group call is important for
keeping remote workers informed about the latest changes affecting the company. Depending on your conference calling
service provider, your calls can even be recorded in case a scheduling conflict prevents some workers from attending
Informal conference meetings allows team members to collaborate with one another as needed. Impromptu calls between key members can serve as a viable substitute for impromptu gatherings in the hallway. However, you'll need to let your virtual team members know that this is encouraged and give them the means to launch conference calls as needed.
Toll Free Conference Calling
If you have virtual team members located in geographically diverse locations, consider choosing a toll free conference plan. Like a traditional toll free number, toll free conference calls are billed to the account holder rather than individual callers. This eliminates the need for remote workers to submit expense reports for reimbursement. Various plans are available including pay-as-you-go and unlimited plans with no long term contracts.
Remote virtual office conferencing is a convenient, affordable, and effective way to facilitate collaboration amongst your entire team. Whether you have a single remote worker or dozens located around the world, remote virtual office collaboration via conference call keeps everyone informed and on the same page.
Virtual office collaboration via conferencing can overcome the challenges of a remote workforce. Use conference calls to hold meetings, collaborate, brainstorm ideas, and build team spirit.